Daughter Knows Best

Assisted living community allows father to live independently, daughter to live worry free.

Like many a caring son or daughter, June Knox has taken it largely upon herself to keep a watchful eye on her aging, single father, Larry. Hers is a vigil that began about four years ago after Larry, then 75, suffered a couple of falls late at night.

When June Knox decided to help her dad move into an assisted living community, she chose Hibiscus Court. And she’s glad she did.

June found a safe and secure home for her father, Larry, at Hibiscus Court.

“He fell the first time after he got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom,” June relates. “He fainted on his way to the bathroom and fell and hit his head on the shower, except he didn’t tell anybody about it at the time.

“Then he fell again a couple months later. That’s when he finally told us about the first fall. I don’t know what happened with that first fall, but he didn’t suffer a concussion or anything from the second. After that, I decided to start looking after him a little more.”

June’s monitoring of her father started off simply enough. Because she lived close by, she would drop in on Larry every other day or so just to make sure all was well. In time, though, Larry became reliant on June and her visits.

“A problem developed one day after I’d gone off to Mississippi to be with my daughter who had just had a baby,” explains June, an artist who owns and operates the Sirens & Sea Maidens art shop, where she sells her own tropical-themed wooden sculptures.

“After I got to Mississippi, I called up my dad just to check in and tell him that I’d be home in a couple of days, and he said, But you need to come home now. I need you to take me to the doctor.

“It turned out that his gallbladder was shot, and he had to go to the emergency room and have surgery to remove it. That whole episode was an indication that he was so used to having me around to take care of him that he wasn’t doing anything for himself.”

Larry needed a couple of months to recover from his gallbladder surgery. During that time, June and other family members noticed he was becoming forgetful of things such as leaving the stove on and was struggling to remember his grandchildren’s names.

Finally, after Larry confused June for her sister one day, June talked Larry into seeing a neurologist. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia, which prompted June to hire a caregiver for Larry.

The caregiver relieved June of some of the responsibility of looking after her father, but Larry continued to decline to the point where June recognized the need for more support and the need to find an assisted living community where Larry could continue to live independently and safely.

Her choice was Hibiscus Court Assisted Living Community in Melbourne, which provided Larry with a lifestyle he was missing as well as the ability to be an independent man again.

“When you take away the day to day tasks that may be causing someone stress, they are able to do so much more on their own again,’’ explains Ashleigh Caswell, associate executive director at Hibiscus Court.

“Larry takes full advantage of our chef-prepared meals and going out with his Hibiscus Court neighbors, and our team is here if he has any personal or health-related concerns, so he doesn’t have to worry about anything.

“His only job is to have fun, and to goof off with us, which is something he’s excellent at. He, of course, still has Mardi Gras King duties to fulfill here at Hibiscus, because that is a position that lasts all year.”

Highly Recommended

“Hibiscus Court was highly recommended to me by a friend who used to be a private nurse and said it was by far the cleanest, healthiest place she’s seen and that all the people that work there are really, really amazing,” June explains.

“And I have to agree. My dad has been there for about six months now, and they have done a great job of taking care of him. They’re really good at keeping an eye on everyone while giving them their space, which is great for my dad because he’s so independent.

“I mean, physically, he’s great. It’s just that mentally, he struggles a little bit, and because of that, it’s no longer safe for him to be at home alone. But he’s still a very social person who likes to get out and do things, and at Hibiscus Court, he can do that safely.”

In addition to its assisted living program, Hibiscus Court also offers senior day-care services for caregivers who need a day for themselves, respite care for seniors recovering from illness or surgery and a secure memory support community called The Garden.

Larry’s apartment has a kitchenette that allows him to make his own meals if he so chooses and affords him the freedom to come and go as he pleases.

“Oftentimes, just because someone may be experiencing some memory loss or cognitive decline, it doesn’t mean they need a secure memory care setting,” explains Alex Larson, community education director at Hibiscus Court.

“Larry is one of those residents, and just as we do for all of them, we have created for him a specific care plan that allows him to continue to maintain as much independence as possible while we meet his needs as they occur.”

Social and Active

June says that at first, Larry was resistant to making the move from home to an assisted living community. Larry adapted quickly after moving into Hibiscus Court, however. Within a month, she says, he became one of its most social and active residents.

“He is very, very involved with the residents,” Alex confirms. “And he’s provided a tremendous energy because he’s so active. We take our residents out to the movies and to museums, plays and concerts a lot, and Larry is always among those involved.

“Residents who come to Hibiscus Court are looking to live the best life possible, and we help them do just that. It can be difficult and isolating for some seniors when they’re living alone at home or with a family member as a caregiver. There’s something to be said for being around your peers.”

Having recently returned from a private tour of The America Muscle Car Museum, Larry agrees that the move to Hibiscus Court has allowed him to do a lot of things he would not have been able to do had he remained at his house.

“My daughter June was right,” Larry adds. “She said I would like it here and I do. I like my apartment very much; the meals are really good; and they do a great job of taking care of all the little things you need to have done.”

June especially likes that Hibiscus Court affords friends and family the opportunity to not just visit with Larry but take him away for short periods of time so that he can continue to do some of the things that were part of his regular routine at home.

“He still goes to the gym three days a week, and friends will come and pick him up and take him there, and I know he likes that,” June says. “So, he still does just about everything he used to do at home, except now he doesn’t have to cook.

“The bottom line is, my dad is pretty much living the same lifestyle he was before, except he’s in a safer environment. That gives me the peace of mind to know I can go about doing all that I need to do while knowing that he’s okay.

“Hibiscus Court is really an incredible place. The people there really care about the residents. They’re always there to take care of any little problem the residents might have, and now that he’s settled in, I know my dad likes it there.”

Larry concurs.

“I’m very happy here,” he concludes. “It’s a great place that I would recommend. If someone needs to come here, I would suggest they do it. They’ll like it here.”

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